Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Recipe by David EllisCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Like so many Italian dishes, this rural pasta sauce comes not from the aristocratic class but from farmers and working poor. Traditionally, it’s made with guanciale, cured pork cheek, but I’ve substituted, which is easier to find. If you prefer guanciale, reduce the olive oil to 2 tablespoons.


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 oz pancetta, ½-inch diced

  • 2 large or 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes (preferably imported San Marzano)

  • 2-3 springs fresh rosemary

  • Salt & pepper

  • 1 pound dried bucatini or thick spaghetti

  • 1 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, about ⅓ cup shredded,plus more for topping


  • Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot over high heat.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pancetta and sauté until most of the fat has rendered and meat begins to get crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes along with juice, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add up to ¾ cup of the reserved tomato juice. Add whole rosemary springs. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Once sauce has thickened, remove rosemary sprigs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the sauce is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente per package instructions. When finished, reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain.
  • Transfer the pasta to the sauce and stir until evenly coated. Add a small amount of cooking water if sauce is too thick or dry. Stir in the Pecorino. Serve immediately and top with additional Pecorino if preferred.


  • Be careful not to over salt the sauce. Wait until the sauce is cooked down before tasting for salt. There may be ample salt in the canned tomatoes, pancetta and pecorino cheese.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.